This was written by a poster named FundieFighter: The vast majority of credible exegetes and scriptural scholars have admitted and realized that the NT Scriptures were not written by actual eyewitnesses to the life of Christ. Rather, they are mid-late 1st century narrative collections of the accumulated traditions about Jesus' life, His sayings, etc., that emanated from sources that had once been eyewitnesses. Paul, for example, never met the earthly Christ. "Luke" never met the earthly Christ. "Mark" was not one of the apostles. Many of Paul's letters are quite blatantly regarded as being pseudonymous, etc. Does this detract from faith in the overall Gosepl truth? Only for the fundamentalist. The fundamentalist places his/her primary faith in pen-and-ink (a Bible) rather than in the actual Person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the realities of Biblical origin dash their faith. It is important to remember that Jesus Himself is the only *Word* of God--the Word Made Flesh. If there were no printing presses, pens, paper, or Bibles in the world, this truth would still have been handed down to us over the centuries. Fundamentalists generally favor the "letter of the Law" over the "spirit of the Law." To convince them to accept the reality of Biblical science, history, and proper interpretation is to dash their faith, since their faith rests primarily in a book, rather than in the Lord about Whom the diverse and various book(s) were composed-- as just *one* form of early Christian witness--part of the overall tradition. I do not ascribe to any "Jesus Seminar." I ascribe to the source-critical, *reasonable* and historically relevant method of understanding the different Scriptural books--*within* context, rather than *out* of context. Faith,rests primarily in the person of Jesus Christ, not in the Bible. Jesus is bigger than the Bible, and the Bible emerged from the tradition of the early Church--not the other way around. Also, I believe that those who love Jesus Christ, believe in Him, and "live" that belief in a working faith are members of the One True Church. Being Orthodox there is respect for the Bishop (and Church) of Rome, but not belief in the Pope's infallibility or primacy. Our priests are allowed to marry (as was the practice for the first 1000 years of all Christianity).Also, statues are not allowed--pictures and painted artworks only--"icons." Their purpose is to inspire, teach and draw our minds to contemplate the greater truth, just as pen-and-ink provide images that form letters of Scripture to inspire and teach. Etc. I do agree that "tradition" (which is the living, inspired witness of faith that produced the Scriptures, the Councils, the Apostles Creed, liturgies, etc.) does indeed adapt and change with the times. Its core truths do not change, but our application and perception of the Gospel develops and "deepens" as Christian history grows with human understanding, reason, and spiritual perspective. It's important to remember that ALL "revelation" is contained solely and fully in the person of Jesus Christ--not in a Bible, or in a Council, or in any other single source. As for Mary, I also agree that the best way to understand her role is by understanding Jesus--what was God's plan for salvation? How did God first set that plan of salvation into human history via the astonishing miracle of the Incarnation? Which person was the first invited to welcome the living God into "time," by an act of faith that preceded and prefigured all future acts of Christian faith? Which human individual was first invited to uniquely collaborate with God in the actualization of redemption on earth through accepting the Person of Jesus? Which human person was, by faith, given to Christians as a spiritual mother-figure (not as a deity) from the Cross? Which person, because of the first act of welcoming Jesus--by faith and in her own flesh--became the true spiritual mother of all future believers? There, you'll find Mary--a free human creature, uniquely graced, preeminently graced, and defined solely by her reaction and relationship to God's saving plan in the person of her Son: Jesus. As we believe that God is "God of the Living and not of the Dead," pray with Mary as much or as little as you wish. It's merely part of the same fabric that allows all Christians the privilege to pray for each other. When Christians pray for and with each other, they are strengthening the bond they share in the one Mediator: Jesus. Christians alive on earth (or alive in heaven) intercede for each other solely as a way of empowering each other and drawing closer in Jesus. Mary is a unique Christian in the "fellowship" of believers. But whenever *any* fellow believer (wherever) prays with us and for us, we draw draw strength and comfort as a fellowship in the Body of Christ. Peace all... At least I found it interesting, what about you?